Chabad vs. Brandeis University – What Makes a Great Leader? (Part 2)

In the part one, we explored some of the initiatives of the Jewish community attempting to mold future Jewish leaders (mainly by funding “leadership programs”).20130712-084528.jpg
This really only caught my attention when a the editor of Jewish newspaper with little circulation highlighted the fact that these “future Jewish leaders” are fed a diet of personal and subjective Jewishness.

These students will be ill-equipped to lead “the people of book”, the people whom at essence are inspired by both the rationally sound mitzvot such as tzedakah (charity) and the “pre-enlightened” ones such as tefilllin (a pair of leather boxes worn during prayer).

In her recent editorial, Baila Olidort of wrote:

Our historic leadership models, Abraham and Moses, the great defenders of humankind, have taught us that Jewish leadership requires courage. Abraham was not coy about teaching monotheism in a pagan culture, and Moses (Rabbenu, our teacher) taught Torah not only as text for study and inspiration, but as a guide to live by, to enrich and enlarge us in our quest for a higher, holier existence. What can someone yearning for participation in a tradition and a legacy that are larger than life, hope for, when instead of Divine revelation, Torah becomes creative fodder for self-expression? - Baila Olidort,

The strange thing is that the students from Brandeis actually met with Baila during a visit to Crown Heights. Did she communicate her concerns to Dr. Mark Rosen, professor at the Brandeis Jewish Leadership program? Or, were her reflections the result of those meetings?

References: “Students Get Chabad Insider Tour”. COL Live Community News Service. February 19, 2013.

Olidort, Baila. “Forging a Future: The Challenge of Jewish Leadership”. Lubavitch International Vol 3. No. 5. Machane Israel Lubavitch News Service. June 26, 2013.

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